Heart Disease | It can strike at any age! - Medshield
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Heart Disease | It can strike at any age!

Posted in Medshield Wellness   |   September 3rd, 2020

Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages.

September is Heart Awareness Month in South Africa, the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.

To showcase it’s importance – an entire month is dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular disease in South Africa, culminating with World Heart Day on 29 September. 

Heart disease—and the conditions that lead to it—can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35-64) are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Many South Africans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking).

You Could Be at Risk

Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:

  • High blood pressure. Millions of people globally – of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  • High blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking. A significant portion of adults are current smokers, and thousands of young people start smoking each day. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:

  • Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart. The picture is worrying in South Africa. Nearly 70% of South African women and 31% of South African men are overweight or obese according to a 2019 survey. And worryingly, 13% of South African children are overweight, which is twice the global average.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle. Nearly 1 in 10 people in the United States has diabetes.
  • Physical inactivity. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.
  • Unhealthy eating patterns. People including children, eat too much salt, which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. But only 1 in 10 adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. Diet high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

Don’t smoke. Smoking is the one of the leading cause of preventable death in the world. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, take steps to quit!

You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to your heart. Learn how to be heart healthy at any age.

Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed.

Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options.

Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. You have free access to numerous workouts and advice from #MedshieldMovement Ambassadors on our social media channels on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram @MedshieldSA and the #MedshieldMovement site www.medshieldmovement.co.za

Source Credit : Health24 and Women’s Health Magazine

Image Credit : 123rf

DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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